February 2, 2010

Colorful Chicken Chili

One of my all-time favorite winter specials is Lewis & Clark's white chicken chili. L&C is a St. Louis-area pub-fare institution. The recipe for it's famous white version of the red-brown favorite appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch nearly 15 years ago, when I was living and working in the area. I've never stopped making it since....until now! I wanted to improve on it a bit by adding more veggies and making it a little more "south of the border." Try this version this wintry weekend and let me know what you think. Cooking the chicken only part of the way before adding all the liquids helps keep it tender. I served it with crumbled tortilla chips and shredded nacho cheese on the side. If you can't find Great Northern beans, cannellini beans work fine.

Colorful Chicken Chili

1 medium onion, chopped (preferably Sweet Vidalia)
2 tbsp corn oil
1/2 cup mild banana pepper rings, chopped
1 jalapeno, cored and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced 2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
salt to taste
2 cans Greath Northern Beans, undrained
1 can cream-style corn (or regular sweet corn, undrained, if you prefer non-dairy)
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat corn oil in large stockpot until hot. Toss in onions and saute five minutes. Add banana peppers, jalapeno, and garlic and continue stirring and sauteing until fragrant. Add celery, carrot, and chicken. Do not brown chicken all the way. When still partly pink, add spices (cumin through salt), and combine throroughly. Add beans with its water, corn, and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, slightly covered for 30 minutes on low heat. Uncover and increase heat to medium and boil off some of the liquid before serving. Garnish with cilantro. Serves 8.

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